Laboratory decommissioning standard


This standard outlines procedures to ensure that laboratory/studio space is reassigned according to health, safety and environment regulations and standards. Prior to a laboratory being reassigned, renovated or demolished it shall be cleared of any unnecessary biological, chemical, radioactive or physical hazards.


Laboratory supervisors are responsible for vacating a laboratory according to this standard.

Laboratory supervisors are responsible for any costs related to vacating a laboratory including hazardous materials identified and/or removed to Environmental Safety Facility (ESC ext. 35755) and the decontamination of equipment and facilities unless their department has agreed to an alternate cost arrangement.

The Safety Office shall provide advice about hazardous materials disposal and the decontamination of equipment and facilities. Where a laboratory supervisor has not addressed the requirements of this standard, the laboratory supervisor’s department shall have the conditions rectified.

The Safety Office shall be consulted about the transfer of any hazardous materials and related equipment from University of Waterloo (UW).

Laboratories shall not be assigned to a new laboratory supervisor for use or to a contractor until inspected by Department Chair, Administrative Head or designate using UW’s Laboratory decommissioning form (PDF). In the event that the laboratory is not immediately re-assigned to a specific researcher the department will sign-off as the incoming researcher and will sign-off as the outgoing occupant when the space is re-assigned. All decommissioning forms need to be submitted to the Safety Office as space is re-assigned.

Guidelines for vacating laboratories:

  • The lab should be clean, tidy, and free of combustible materials.
  • Chemical containers need to be properly identified, labelled, and sealed.
  • Laboratory glassware should be empty and cleaned.
  • Autoclaves, ovens, refrigerators, freezers, incubators, fume hoods, and storage cabinets need to becleaned-out and decontaminated.
  • Clean lab bench tops and fume hood work surfaces (washed down).
  • Return compressed gas cylinders to the supplier(s).
  • Dispose of unused hazardous consumer products as hazardous waste (i.e. cleaning solvents, paints, thinners, oils, pesticides, etc.).
  • Dispose of hazardous waste through the Environmental Safety Facility (ESC ext 35755).
  • Remove signs, posters, and non-University property.
  • Leave documents or statements with department director/chair for any equipment or materials that the department has agreed to have remain in the laboratory (i.e. Materials Safety Data Sheets (MSDS), services manuals, inventory, etc.).
  • Fill out the lab decommissioning form and submit one copy to the Safety Office and retain a copy in the departmental.